ENENews: Experts: Fukushima ‘ice wall’ could destroy reactor units, turn site into swamp — Risk of fractures, ground movement, building subsidence — Must be frozen for 200 years — Officials: High cliffs just behind plant may become unstable — Gov’t: “Observable heaving” and deformations possible



Experts: Fukushima ‘ice wall’ could destroy reactor units, turn site into swamp — Risk of fractures, ground movement, building subsidence — Must be frozen for 200 years — Officials: High cliffs just behind plant may become unstable — Gov’t: “Observable heaving” and deformations possible (VIDEO)
Published: May 2nd, 2016 at 9:18 pm ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/experts-fukushima-ice-wall-could-destroy-reactor-
buildings-turn-site-swamp-concern-fractures-ground-movement-subsidence-
around-structures-will-stay-frozen-200-year-period-govt-observable-heav?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy
+News%29


AP, Apr 29, 2016 (emphasis added): Fukushima No. 1 plant’s ice wall won’t be watertight, says chief architect… Even if the frozen barrier… works as envisioned, it will not completely block all water… because of gaps in the wall… said Yuichi Okamura, a chief architect… Tepco resorted to [this] after it became clear it had to do something drastic… [Okamura said,] “We have come up against many unexpected problems.” The water woes are just part of the many obstacles… No one has even seen the nuclear debris…


Huffington Post, Apr 1, 2016: ‘Ice Wall’ Is Japan’s Last-Ditch Effort To Contain Fukushima Radiation… [It’s] a desperate attempt to stop radiation that’s been leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for five years…

Kyodo, Mar 30, 2016: The NRA warned earlier that if the groundwater levels within the [ice] walls is reduced excessively by blocking the flow from outside, highly contaminated water within the buildings could seep out as a result.

Proposal for controlling ground water and radioactive leakage in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (by World Water and Climate Foundation): [TEPCO] has a plan to freeze soil around the plant… this idea may not be sustainable… over the 200-year period that will be required for the reactors to be decommissioned.… The problem with freezing… is that solutes may be expelled from the ice… This can result in extremely concentrated saline solutions that do not freeze even at low temperatures. It is likely that under these conditions radioactive materials could become highly concentrated in dense brines that could then flow as density currents… Also, heating and cooling during the four annual seasons in Japan may make the ground of the station site softer and wetter like a swamp, and it could create another risk to the reactors, such as building destruction… The authors would like to express sincere thanks to Dr. W.F. Vincent, Dr. I. Ostrovsky, Dr. S. Kudoh and Dr. L. Legendre for their valuable comments and suggestions for strengthening this proposal.

Los Alamos National Laboratory: Integrated model of groundwater flow and radionuclide migration at Fukushima Daiichi… we will be able to answers critical questions such as… Will the cryogenic barrier lead to salt water intrusion at the site thereby mobilizing contaminants such as Cs and Sr that are mobile under high salinity conditions?

U.S. Department of Energy, 2015: Independent Technical Support for the Frozen Soil Barrier… several references discuss soil heave in the context of artificial ground freezing… It is possible that some observable heaving will occur directly above and directly adjacent to the frozen soil barrier… Monitoring of temperatures, heave pressures, and deformations… would provide information to assist in managing impacts from soil heave…


Geological Survey of Japan, 2015: [T]he sustainability of the ice wall remains doubtful… Furthermore, the ice lenses will grow irregularly as per the distribution of chiller pipes, and the sediment desaturation might lead to the aquitards’ compaction and subsidence around the buildings. In effect, a decrease in pore water pressure could increase the effective stress of the ground and result in movements and the formation of fractures in the superficial units.

IAEA, 2016: The IAEA group of experts reviewed the status of groundwater inflow, countermeasures and modelling… During the visit to Daiichi NPS on 18 February 2016, groundwater seepage on the slopes [i.e. cliffs over 100 feet high directly behind plant] that have been covered with facing was observed by the IAEA experts… seepage through the facing could create geotechnical instability on the slope if horizontal drains are not installed…

Watch TEPCO’s video on the ‘ice wall’ here

Published: May 2nd, 2016 at 9:18 pm ET
By ENENews
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Officials: Buildings sinking next to Fukushima reactors — Experts: We know structures decaying, getting more unstable — ‘Plant deterioration investigation’ underway — Molten fuel thought to be eating away structural materials (VIDEO) July 29, 2015
Nuclear Expert in Fukushima: People’s feet turned black for years because radiation so high — Every time I turned around I saw someone who had radiation damage — Hair falling out, caughing up blood, bodies covered with boils… Officials keeping doctors from telling truth… Public being brainwashed (VIDEO) April 11, 2016
Nuclear Expert: This is just 1st radioactive wave hitting U.S. and Canada; Fukushima pouring into ocean, unstoppable for years and years — Marine Expert: No sign it will stop anytime soon; Plant unstable, potentially worse than Chernobyl (AUDIO) January 21, 2014
Radiation levels have surged at Fukushima plant — 100,000% of previous record high — TV: “Officials say they don’t know the cause… Typhoon may be to blame” (VIDEO) October 26, 2014
TV: “Barrier is not holding” at Fukushima plant — All efforts have failed to stop very high levels of radioactive materials flowing into ocean — Officials: More water’s coming in than we were pumping out — Workers now trying to prevent overflow (VIDEO) November 19, 2014

May 2nd, 2016 | Category: Audio/Video Clips, Fukushima Daiichi, Japan (Fukushima)

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ENENews: TV: “Carcasses littering beaches for miles” on Pacific coast of Alaska — “Complete reproductive failure” — “Horrifying… Horrid… Mind-boggling… Off the charts”


TV: “Carcasses littering beaches for miles” on Pacific coast of Alaska — “Complete reproductive failure” — “Horrifying… Horrid… Mind-boggling… Off the charts” — Unprecedented die-off “has potential to be biggest mortality event in state history” — “The most extreme I’ve ever seen” (VIDEOS)

Published: January 13th, 2016 at 3:00 pm ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/tv-carcasses-littering-beaches-miles-pacific-coast-alaska-horrifying-mind-boggling-charts-unprecedented-die-could-be-biggest-mortality-event-states-history-extreme-ive-videos?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29


(In this Jan. 5, 2016 photo, Guy Runco, director of the Bird Treatment and Learning Center, releases…)
AP, Jan 12, 2016 (emphasis added): “It was pretty horrifying,” [Seabird biologist David Irons] said… An estimated 8,000 of the black and white birds were found dead on the Whittier beach, said [USGS’s] John Piatt… “That’s unprecedented, that sheer number in one location is off the charts,” he said… “The length of time we’ve been seeing dead birds, and the geographic scope, is much greater than before in other die-off events,” said Kathy Kuletz, a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We’re looking at many times that. So possibly a good chunk of the population.”… Many females in 2015, however, were too weak to breed, Kuletz said.

http://www.ktva.com/thousands-of-dead-seabirds-wash-up-in-whittier-888/
KTVA, Jan 6, 2016: “It’s a major event and it’s difficult to see,” said Kathy Kuletz, the seabird coordinator for Fish and Wildlife. On Wednesday afternoon, Justin Siemens [said] “It’s super crazy. I’ve always seen a little bit of die off… but nothing like this,” [Kuletz] said this has the potential to be the biggest mortality event in the state’s history — numbers could reach more than 100,000.


(Photo by Anna Frost, Homer News/Homer News reporters counted 126 dead murres washed up on the trail by Mud Bay on Dec. 31. Biologists don’t know what is causing the murres to die in such huge numbers).
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Jan 7, 2016: Anyone who has walked Homer’s beaches the past few weeks has seen a horrid event. Every few yards… dead birds… In the summer of 2015, the murres also suffered a complete colony collapse and failed to breed… “We had complete reproductive failure, which is really rare for murres,” said Heather Renner, a bird biologist… 8,000 dead murres on a 1-mile stretch of beach in Whittier. “That number is totally off the charts,” Renner said. “This whole region is having through-the-roof numbers in the last couple of days.”… In an interview in July, [Julia Parrish, a fisheries professor at the University of Washington] said a big die off would be like one seen at Kayak Island near Prince William Sound, with 1,000 dead birds per kilometer. “That’s knee deep in birds,” she said then… other species like auklets and guillemots have been found dead… Murres also have been dying in above-average numbers in areas of the Washington and Oregon coast… “These are scrappy birds. They’re used to it. Something else is going on… They’re telling us something is going on in the marine ecosystem,” she said.

http://www.adn.com/sites/default/files/styles/ad_slideshow_wide/public/Common%20Murre%20on%20beach%203×2.jpg?itok=M_fItOSN
(Dead murres line a beach in Prince William Sound the first week of January, 2016.
David Irons / USFW)
Alaska Dispatch News, Jan 5, 2016: Thousands of dead common murres are washing up on the beaches of Whittier, an unprecedented die-off that has scientists wondering how many more thousands remain uncounted… The scale of the die-off is unprecedented along the Sound, longtime residents say. “It’s just mind-boggling,” said David Janka, a Cordova charter owner… [It’s] the worst Piatt has seen in 40 years of research in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. “It’s a regular part of their life history, but I would say this is the most extreme I have ever seen or heard of,” he said… It’s possible that… there’s a disease or some other medical condition that’s causing them to starve… “It’s turning out to be something that does have the potential for population-level effects,” she said. “It is just off the chart as far as what we typically see with these events.”

http://www.ktva.com/scientists-counting-number-of-dead-common-murres-in-southcentral-alaska-571/
KTVA, Jan 7, 2016: Carcasses littered beaches for miles outside Whittier… “Scientists tend to get blasé about this but this is bigger than I’ve ever seen,” [Irons] said. They know the birds are starving to death, they just don’t know why. “Seabird biologists say seabirds are indicators of the health of the ecosystem. Now they’re dying and that is telling us something.”

Alaska Dispatch News, Dec 30, 2015: Normally found skimming the North Pacific, seabirds known as common murres are appearing inland… starving and unable to fly… [Biologists] say the seabirds may already be pushing away from the ocean in a desperate quest to find food… [It’s] part of a widespread seabird die-off up and down the Pacific coast, possibly due to shortages of squid, krill and little fish the birds usually eat.

Murre die-off around Kachemak Bay estimated to be in the thousands

KTOO, Dec 26, 2015: Seabird die-offs have been recorded all along the West Coast of the U.S. in Washington, Oregon and California this year… “Based on the duration of the time that we’ve had carcasses being reported to us, I would say, it’s into the thousands, certainly, throughout Kachemak Bay,” [??] Slater said… They’ve also had reports of dead tufted puffins, horned puffins and an ancient murrelet…

Alaska Sealife Center Common Murre Mini-Rehab

Seward City News, Dec 30, 2015: It’s hard to miss the bloody bird carcasses strewn about town… None of this is normal… Alarming numbers of seabird die-offs are also occurring this year from California up the coast to the Gulf of Alaska.

http://homertribune.com/2016/01/stranded-seabirds-crowd-alaska-rescue-center/
Homer Tribune, Jan 2016: Dead murres litter Homer’s Mud Bay beach… and [continue to] baffle scientists…. This most recent wave of murre strandings is part… of a widespread seabird die-off up and down the Pacific coast.

Seward City News, Nov 16, 2015: It’s hard to miss the many seabird carcasses scattered along the beach, and in town… [Many] paddle lethargically as if in a daze… Murres are also acting strange in other ways, paddling towards people and other birds, not recognizing danger.

Watch broadcasts here: KTVA:
http://www.ktva.com/scientists-counting-number-of-dead-common-murres-in-southcentral-alaska-571/
| KTUU:
http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/rescue-efforts-underway-for-starving-exhausted-seabirds-found-far-inland/37221704
| KTVA:
http://www.ktva.com/thousands-of-dead-seabirds-wash-up-in-whittier-888/

ENENews: “Dead body found at facility”… “Officials confirm one death” — “Sheriff’s office is actively investigating the incident” Published: December 29th, 2015


I can’t help but wonder what killed this poor soul. We will most likely never hear anything more about it, unless he killed over from a heart attack or something, easy to explain.


(Image courtesy of Department of Defense)
Emergency center activated at U.S. nuclear site — “Dead body found at facility”… “Officials confirm one death” — “Sheriff’s office is actively investigating the incident”

Published: December 29th, 2015 at 6:19 pm ET
By ENENews


http://www.abqjournal.com/697959/news/wipp-employee-found-dead-on-the-job.html
Albuquerque Journal, Dec 28, 2015 (emphasis added): A 62-year-old employee was found dead Sunday at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico. Robert Staffel, an employee at the nuclear waste repository’s quality assurance department, was found unresponsive by emergency response personnel around 8 p.m. after family members alerted staff that they had tried to reach him by phone, according to a spokesman… Eddy County Sheriff’s Office and state medical examiner responded to the site and an investigation is ongoing. Staffel is believed to have died of natural causes… Phil Breidenbach, NWP president and project manager [said] “We will continue to support the investigation into Mr. Staffel’s death.”

http://www.scsun-news.com/story/news/2015/12/28/dead-body-found-radioactive-waste-facility/77982028/
Silver City Sun News, Dec 28, 2015: Dead body found at radioactive waste facility… deputies responded to a call at about 8:43 p.m. on Sunday reporting an unconscious man at [WIPP]… Further investigation revealed that the man had been located on the facility grounds and was an employee of WIPP… The cause of the man’s death is unknown, according to the news release… The incident remains under investigation…

http://www.currentargus.com/story/news/local/2015/12/28/officials-confirm-one-death-wipp/77981446/
Carlsbad Current-Argus, Dec 28, 2015: Officials confirm one death at WIPP — The Eddy County Sheriff’s Office said a man who was found unconscious at the [WIPP] on Sunday is dead. Emergency service responders were dispatched to WIPP at around 9:45 p.m. when the employee was found unresponsive at the facility… Chief Deputy Mark Cage said in a news release that the man was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of death is unknown and the sheriff’s office is actively investigating the incident, said Sgt. Matt Hutchinson…


http://krqe.com/2015/12/28/waste-isolation-pilot-plant-employee-found-dead-at-wipp-facility/
KRQE, Dec 28, 2015: The death of a [WIPP] employee is under investigation after he was found dead Sunday. The Eddy County Sheriff’s Office says the man was found dead at the plant. Officials say the cause of his death is unknown. The incident is still under investigation.

http://wipp.energy.gov/pr/2015/EOC_Level1_activation_weather.pdf
U.S. Department of Energy (pdf), Dec 29, 2015: At approximately, 9 a.m. Mountain Time, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Emergency Operations Center (EOC) announced a Level 1 activation to support coordination of resources needed to safely restore normal operations at WIPP due to the recent severe snow storm in southeast New Mexico.

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s4005226.shtml#.VoZN1_x0t4n
AP, Dec 29, 2015: Officials at an underground nuclear waste repository in southeastern New Mexico say they have activated their emergency operations center in response to the severe weather that has hit much of New Mexico. [WIPP] has been closed for the past couple of days due to the inclement weather…

Professor: “It’s really a dead zone” in areas of Fukushima — “Huge impacts… there are no butterflies, no birds… many dramatically fewer species” — “Why does it matter to you (in the U.S.)? The reason is, it’s coming, it is coming” (VIDEO)


ENEews:
http://enenews.com/professor-really-dead-zone-areas-fukushima-huge-impacts-butterflies-birds-many-dramatically-fewer-species-matter-reason-coming-coming-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Published: October 11th, 2015 at 11:37 pm ET
By ENENews

Dr. Timothy Mousseau, Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina,

published Oct 3, 2015:

18:30 in — “We don’t see these kind of patches of white feathers anywhere else around the world… Whats really interesting is that 2 years ago we started finding birds in Fukushima with patches of white feathers as well… The frequencies are increasing, its related to the radiation exposure… White spots, they first started noticing these white spots on these cows shortly after the disaster.”

30:30 in — “Fukushima… After 4 years of repeated sampling this is what we find: huge impacts, dramatically fewer birds in the areas of high radiation, many dramatically fewer species of birds as well.”

32:00 in — “Since it was July, I think I’ll… have to go with ‘Silent Summer’ effect… It’s really a dead zone. There are no butterflies, no birds. Very few, and it’s very, very clearly the result of the radiation contaminants.”

34:30 in — (Showing images of the radioactive contamination crossing the Pacific Ocean) “Why does it matter to you?… The reason is… it’s coming — it is coming.”

From ENENews: Former Japan Official: “Unstoppable contamination of Pacific Ocean… is seriously menacing US West Coast” — “Fukushima now undeniably a global security issue… can’t be brought under control by single state” —


Reuters: Contamination is spreading off U.S. shores — Radioactive cesium reaches 11 Bq/m3 at multiple locations (MAP) “Very significant” explosion at dam next to U.S. nuclear site — ‘Plasma’ created due to tremendous amount of heat — Same type of phenomenon as lightning — Nuclear site’s fire department responds to blast (VIDEO) http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/explosion-washington-state-dam-injures-multiple-employees-n441456 »

Former Japan Official: “Unstoppable contamination of Pacific Ocean… is seriously menacing US West Coast” — “Fukushima now undeniably a global security issue… can’t be brought under control by single state” — Experts: Wave of radiation will be 10 times more than entire world’s nuclear tests combined
http://enenews.com/former-japan-official-fukushimas-unstoppable-contamination-pacific-ocean-seriously-menacing-west-coast-disaster-be-brought-control-single-state-limitless-steam-coming-reactors-evokes-possibility
Published: December 2nd, 2015 at 7:05 am ET
By ENENews

Mitsuhei Murata, former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Nov 1, 2015 (emphasis added):

The lack of the sense of crisis over Fukushima is in stark contrast to the gravity of the crisis. Fukushima is now undeniably a global security issue. The unstoppable contamination of the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere with ionizing radiation from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear reactors is seriously menacing the West Coast of the United States. Japan should make utmost efforts to cope with the Fukushima crisis by retreating from the Tokyo Olympic Games that disseminate the false impression that Fukushima is under control.

Deteriorating situation in Fukushima — Japan is laboring under the consequences of the Accident never before experienced by humanity, including the simultaneous destruction and meltdown of three commercial nuclear reactors. Four and half years after the 3.11 disaster, it has been shown that a severe nuclear accident cannot be brought under control by a single state… It is questioned if Japan is in possession of the governability and the capacity needed to cope with the impending crisis. The melted cores of the reactors from Units 1, 2 and 3 remain inaccessible… If the molten nuclear fuel rods are exposed through cracks to the atmosphere due to a mega earthquake or the liquidization of soils on the site that could cause the collapse and breach of Fukushima’s spent fuel pools, Japan’s landmass would become uninhabitable to a large extent… The whole of Japan is threatened by the worsening situation emanating from the molten fuel rods, which continue to widely disseminate large amounts of dangerous radionuclides into the sea and atmosphere. Limitless steam observed evokes the possibility of re-criticality at the site. The undeniable necessity for international verification of the suspected re-criticality at the site should bring about the indispensable international cooperation to cope effectively with the Accident. The ongoing radioactive contamination of the sea with no prospect for a solution is dishonoring Japan, causing it to be criticized for harming the global environment. In spite of all this, attempts are shamefully being made to hide Fukushima…

World is menaced by the spreading contamination… The consequences of the radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean from Japan to the West Coast of the United States are drawing increased attention. Some experts now estimate that the wave of radiation from Fukushima will be 10-times bigger than all of the radiation from the entire world’s nuclear tests throughout history combined…

The Tokyo Olympic Games belittle the Fukushima crisis — It is undeniable that the Tokyo Olympic Games constitute serious impediments for coping with the consequences of the March 11 Disaster… My interview article was published in the magazine “Monthly Japan” (September 2015). It is entitled “An honorable retreat from the Tokyo Olympic Games” and is given a central place. Reactions are noteworthy and expanding… The Tokyo Olympic Games diverts attention from Fukushima and gives the false impression to the world that Fukushima no longer poses a threat. The advancement of the Tokyo Olympic Games comes at the expense of the funds needed to address the host of environmental disasters created by the destroyed Fukushima nuclear reactors… The future of the Olympic Games is at stake. It is as a believer in the spirit of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement that I am pleading for an honorable retreat, and this, in order for Japan to devote maximum efforts to controlling the Fukushima crisis.

From last month: Former Japan Ambassador: Uncontrolled nuclear chain reactions could be underway at Fukushima — “Troubling indications of recurring criticality” as Tellurium-132 detected over 100 miles from plant — ‘Recriticality’ discussed by Japan’s top nuclear official

Published: December 2nd, 2015 at 7:05 am ET
By ENENews

ENENews: TV: ‘Scary’ mystery illness killing off animals “at such a rapid rate”


TV: ‘Scary’ mystery illness killing off animals “at such a rapid rate” on West Coast — Hundreds of marine mammals found dead in small area — Gov’t Expert: “Something is likely affecting the entire ecosystem… Something is hitting them harder and faster… Something else seems to be involved” (VIDEO)
Published: October 19th, 2015 at 7:11 am ET
By ENENews

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Oct 8, 2015 (emphasis added): More than 200 dead or sick sea otters have been reported on beaches in [Alaska’s] Kachemak Bay region in 2015… A team of experts… are working to understand what has caused the spike in sea otter deaths and potential significance to the population… [T]he cause of death for many of the sea otters remains unknown.

Anchorage Daily News, Oct 10, 2015: Researchers see spike in Kachemak Bay sea otter deaths… [A news release from gov’t agencies] said the recent deaths and sickness could significantly affect the population.

KTVA transcript, Oct. 8, 2015: Hundreds of sea otters have been found dead in the Katchemak Bay area near Homer this year. Veterinarians at the Alaska Sea Life Center are working with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to figure out what’s making the otters so sick… It’s an unsettling mystery, killing off some of Alaska’s favorite furry animals.

KTVA, Oct 8, 2015: Unusually high number of sea otter deaths reported in Kachemak Bay… experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to figure out what’s killing off the otters at such a rapid rate. “More recently, animals have appeared otherwise healthy and seemed to have died very quickly,” said Dr. Carrie Goertz… “it’s scary to know there’s something out there in the wild that we may or may not be able to do anything about.”

Peninsula Clarion, Oct 10, 2015: Spike in otter deaths in Kachemak Bay… “They were pretty healthy-looking, other than they were dead” [said Marc Webber, U.S. Fish & Wildlife]… The otters are clearly unwell… nonresponsive and unable to move, [Dr. Carrie Goetz, SeaLife Center veterinarian] said. “There haven’t been any obvious causes of death,” Goetz said. “That’s been limiting our understanding of what’s going on.”… Reports of dead animals of multiple species have risen in the Kachemak Bay area in the last few months, including birds and barnacles… Increased numbers of dead whales had been spotted as well…

KBBI, Oct 13, 2015: [Webber said] when something is going wrong with them, something is likely affecting the entire ecosystem… [Dr. Goetz] says they’ve been tracking a streptococcus illness… But the otters that have died since August seem different. “[They] have died acutely… in the last couple of months,” Goertz said… [What Webber is] seeing seems different than what he’s seen in the past. “Something is hitting them harder and faster… something else seems to be involved,” Webber said.

AP, Oct 14, 2015: “We’re finding otters all over the Homer area”… [the] otters are turning with neurological conditions that cause them to twitch, said Webber… dying otters could be an indicator that something is wrong with the entire ecosystem, according to Webber. The Alaska Sea Life Center has been tracking a streptococcus illness… but what’s happened since August is something new, said veterinarian Cari Goertz…

USGS California Sea Otter Stranding Network 2014 Stranding Summary: The number of sea otter strandings in 2014 (386) was the highest on record, 18 above the 368 sea otters that stranded in 2012. There were 340 strandings in 2013… A stranded sea otter is one that washes ashore dead or alive… NOTE: Stranding numbers only account for sea otters that people find… possibly less than 50% of sea otters that die in the wild end up on the beach…

Watch KTVA’s broadcast here

Published: October 19th, 2015 at 7:11 am ET
By ENENews
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Abandoned Uranium Mines Another Nightmare for US Citizens! By Helen Jaccard, Dr. Margaret Flowers and Klee Benally, www.wiseinternational.org


The Toxic Threat Of Abandoned Uranium Mines In The United States
Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 9.58.04 AM
PETITIONS AND ONLINE ACTIONS CLEAN UP THE MINES, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT
By Helen Jaccard, Dr. Margaret Flowers and Klee Benally, http://www.wiseinternational.org
October 14th, 2014

https://www.popularresistance.org/the-toxic-threat-of-abandoned-uranium-mines-in-the-united-states/

Screen Shot 2014 10 14 at 9 58 04 AM

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION TO CLEAN UP THE MINES!to

The nuclear industry is a many-headed toxic beast – nuclear power and nuclear weapons are just the most visible ones. Mining, milling, processing, reprocessing, manufacturing, and transporting nuclear materials are some other heads of the beast that are less visible. All are desecrating Mother Earth and killing her peoples. It’s time to deal with the initial stage of this problem. We can begin by cleaning up the abandoned uranium mines and placing a National Environmental Security Moratorium on all uranium extraction.

Irresponsible corporations and negligent government agencies have abandoned more than 10,000 toxic uranium mines throughout the US. These hazardous mines poison our air, land and water and harm public health. Currently no laws require cleanup of these dangerous sites. A new campaign, Clean Up The Mines!, aims for remediation of these mines through federal legislation and action, and public education.

Abandoned Uranium Mines (AUMs)

The Environmental Protection Agency and US Geological Survey document over 10,000 abandoned uranium mines in the US, most in 15 western states on public, private, and tribal lands. Over 4,200 of these mines produced uranium that was sold to the US Atomic Energy Commission for use in nuclear weapons from the 1940s through the 1970s. Starting in the 1960s, much of the mining was done to provide fuel for nuclear power plants.

There are several AUMs in and near the Grand Canyon, 169 of them within 40 miles of Mt. Rushmore, and eight right on the edge of Grand Teton / Yellowstone National Parks. One in seven (10 million) people in the western US lives within 50 miles of an AUM.

The Mining Act of 1872 governs hard rock mining (including uranium mining) on federal lands. Since enactment 142 years ago, the law has never been substantially modified. It was passed to encourage settlement and development of the western US, and current government interpretation specifies that the highest and best use of federal land is mining.

Seventy-five percent of the AUMs are on federal and tribal land. There is no royalty paid for mining on federal lands and no environmental protection or cleanup requirements. Many of the companies who owned the land or operated the mines no longer exist, others have illegally spun off these toxic ‘assets’ into now-bankrupt companies. The result? The people must pay the billions or trillions of dollars to restore most of these sites.

There is also no federal set of best practices or standards for cleanup. As a result, most of the EPA-directed cleanup efforts are nothing more than toxic landscaping.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION TO CLEAN UP THE MINES!

AUM hazards and contamination pathways

Physical hazards of AUMs come from unmarked, unprotected mine entrances, cliffs, falling rocks, and collapsing buildings and equipment. Wind picks up radioactive dust from rock piles and blows it for miles – people breathe fine particles into their lungs, resulting in much higher levels of lung cancer near AUMs. People carry the radioactive dust, dirt, and mud around on their clothes and shoes, spreading the contamination to their homes and families.

One of the decay elements of uranium is radon gas. It seeps up through the ground in many areas around mine sites where people and animals breathe it in. Exposure to radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US.

Water picks up radiation in a variety of ways – rain washes radioactive dust from the air and rocks and carries it into streams and rivers. Surface and underground water dissolve uranium from rock and dust. This is particularly true of uranium that has been exposed to oxygen, which changes it from UIV to UVI, which is more soluble in water. (This is the principle used in ‘In Situ Leaching’, similar to fracking techniques, the method most commonly used now.) The result is polluted rivers, lakes, and aquifers, with no safe available drinking water for thousands of communities.

Pools and lakes of contaminated water contribute to bringing radioactivity into the food chain. Cattle and wild animals can drink this toxic water, concentrating radiation in their organs which is called bio-accumulation. Plants in areas surrounding AUMs take up the radioactive waste as well. Whether grown for crops or eaten by animals, the radiation continues to bio-accumulate and spread.

On the Spokane Indian Reservation in Eastern Washington State, there are two lakes collecting water from AUMs that are so acidic that if you dip a spoon in, it will melt. Uranium often occurs with other toxic heavy metals, and over time, as contaminated water flows out of the AUM and into a lake, evaporation and replenishment by more contaminated water gives an extreme concentration of toxic and radioactive heavy metals.

The EPA has estimated that mining has polluted 40% of the headwaters of western watersheds.

Public health emergency

People living near AUMs face increased rates of cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, thyroid disease, autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and lupus, and birth defects. Because so many of these mines are on or near indigenous lands, the genocide of the Indian peoples continues. In many indigenous communities no safe drinking water is available. The EPA has closed 22 wells on the Navajo Nation due to unsafe levels of radioactivity.

Site visits and investigation in South Dakota

A CleanUpTheMines! team visited Mt. Rushmore as part of our Earth Day launch of the campaign. The Geiger counter measurement at the national monument’s main viewing area was 30 microrems per hour, higher than normal because of the 169 AUMs within 50 miles of the monument. Millions of tourists unknowingly face exposure to this toxic threat by breathing radioactive dust and radon gas.

In Riley Pass, one of the largest AUMs in South Dakota, the deadly effect of the mine was apparent. As the group approached the bluff, the tree line ended abruptly at the edge of the mine. Although Riley Pass is designated as a Superfund site, signs of water runoff from the AUM were visible, no barriers or fences prevented people or animals from accessing parts of this hazardous site. This is a site where toxic landscaping was done, leaving very high levels of radioactivity to poison the water and soil of the area.

At the small community of Ludlow, the group measured radioactivity with a Geiger counter at an elementary school playground that was 44 microrems/hour. This is the equivalent of more than 150 Counts Per Minute (CPM), over the 100 CPM threshold, which means it cannot be attributed to background radiation and is not safe. A private abandoned, open-pit uranium mine about 200 meters from the school emits 1170 microrems per hour, more than four times as much as being emitted from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. This is only one abandoned, open-pit uranium mine in the middle of the US.

Charmaine White Face, a scientist and coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills, facilitated the campaign launch event. “For the American public to be exposed to radioactive pollution and not be warned by federal and state governments is unconscionable,” stated White Face. “Shame on the American federal and state governments for allowing their citizens to be placed in such danger for more than 50 years and not stopping the source of the danger. It is a national travesty.” She noted that according to her doctor, thyroid cancer rates are 10 times higher than the national average in western South Dakota. Margaret Flowers, MD, said, “The mines are a silent health threat. Millions of people are at risk of breathing or ingesting radioactive particles that travel through the air and water and settle in soil where they enter our food system.”

In every community we visited, we heard that people are dying of cancer and have other serious diseases caused by the radioactive contamination. They are very concerned over the lack of information about AUMs and lack of action to remediate them. Babies are born with severe, multiple birth defects. When we visited Red Shirt Village in southeast South Dakota, we heard from Dennis Yellow Thunder, Natural Resources Technician for the Oglala Sioux Tribe Natural Resources Regulatory Resources Agency. His family, including his daughter, used the water for drinking and bathing. His granddaughter was born with multiple birth defects. “If we don’t defend our sacred water it will be the end of us all,” he said, “We must support this campaign to clean up the mines. We need to protect this land, our water and the sacred Black Hills. We need to do it from our heart.”

The water serving this area is heavily contaminated with ‘technologically enhanced’ uranium (from mining and milling waste rather than how it occurs naturally in the ground) and even more with thorium, the first element in decay of uranium. “Without water, nothing can exist”, said Charmaine White Face.

In Buffalo, 20 miles from Ludlow, 12 people (out of about 600 living nearby) now have brain tumors. Experts from Mayo Clinic said the only way people get these are from breathing uranium. Copper sulfate is being fed to cattle so that their fur will be brown or black instead of gray from the radiation. Sheep can’t live there because their immune systems won’t tolerate the radiation. Most ranchers can’t afford to move from this toxic area.

Sandra Cuny Buffington, a rancher who resides in Red Shirt community, maintains a herd of cattle in the Bad Lands. She lived at the river until it wasn’t possible any more because of contamination. She spoke of high rates of cancer in the area: “We know we are contaminated but where are we going to go? I don’t know of any other life than the one that I have lived. As crazy as it sounds, you learn how to live with it.”

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION TO CLEAN UP THE MINES!

Abandoned Uranium Mine Cleanup Act

Clean Up the Mines! was established by Defenders of Black Hills and Popular Resistance to pass The Uranium Exploration, Mining Accountability and Moratorium Act (Abandoned Uranium Mine Cleanup Act) of 2014. The Act will:

* maintain a complete inventory of all existing abandoned uranium mining and exploratory sites;

* direct the Environmental Protection Agency to create a new Abandoned Uranium Mines Department, to develop an Action Plan for site-specific reclamation of abandoned uranium mines and exploratory sites;

* place a National Environmental Security moratorium on any processing or approval of new permits for uranium exploration, mining, and in-situ leach operations until the Action Plan is completed;

* institute a program of public education on the dangers of abandoned uranium mines; and

* mandate accountability, enforcement, and public oversight to ensure cleanup of abandoned uranium mines.

From July 21–23, the Clean Up the Mines! team visited congressional offices and supporting organizations in Washington, DC. Rep. Grijalva (Democrat, AZ) is supporting the initiative and other members of congress have pledged their support.

You can learn more about the campaign and what you can do to help Clean Up The Mines! at http://www.cleanupthemines.org. Please contact your senators and representatives and encourage them to support the Abandoned Uranium Mine Cleanup Act and to contact Rep. Grijalva’s office.

Public education

If you can host an event to educate people about abandoned uranium mines, please contact us at cleanupthemines@gmail.com.

Some of our short videos are available on our youtube channel − here’s a web shortcut: tinyurl.com/cleanupthemines